Our traditional Irish sweaters continue to be created with original Aran stitching, carrying on the world-renowned legacy. With a history stretching back generations, beginning with the protective Aran sweaters that were created for fishermen and other labourers, the Aran Islands are steeped in Irish heritage. Locally known as ‘geansaí’, Aran sweaters continue to be a popular piece of clothing not just in Ireland but around the world.
But how much do you know about the Aran Islands themselves, and why the sweaters hold such significance? Here at The Irish Sweater Mill, we want to take you on a little tour of the Aran Islands so you can understand for yourselves.
3 important little islands
The Aran Islands are located off the west coast of Ireland, in the middle of the Wild Atlantic Way. Standing at the mouth of Galway Bay, they are easily accessible for those who want to visit.
The islands, combined, have a population of around 1300. The inhabitants speak primarily Irish but are also fluent in English. Their chief source of livelihood to this day still includes fishing, farming and now also tourism.
It is said that the first people to populate the islands was around 3000 BC; the islands have been through the Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age, leading up to their modern inhabitants. So what makes these islands so unique?
Characteristics of the Aran Islands
The largest island, Inis Mór (otherwise known as Inishmore) is fast becoming one of the most popular tourist destinations in Ireland. Known for its fascinating monuments from Christian, pre-Christian and Celtic heritage, Inis Mór holds a lot of historical interest.
Inis Mór, along with the other two islands, are incredibly important to modern Irish culture and together they are home to sandy beaches, interesting shorelines and stunning cliffs. Inis Mór is home to Dún Aonghasa, one of the most famous prehistoric forts on the islands.
A slightly smaller island, Inis Meáin or Inishmaan is more of an authentic escape from the modern world. With only a small population of around 200 people, it is a less visited island and so gives you a real Irish experience. With preserved Irish culture and a hilly landscape, it offers beautiful walks and breathtaking views.
Inis Oírr, otherwise known as Inisheer, is the smallest island of the three, at only 3km by 3km. With the feel of an isolated fishing village, it is home to a strong community and a unique rocky landscape.
Visiting the Aran Islands
Visiting these special islands will provide you with a lifetime of memories of Ireland’s worst kept secret. With endless stunning landscape and a traditional way of life, a trip to the Aran Islands wouldn’t be complete with your very own Aran sweater.
Check out our beautiful collection and find your favourite today!